1Laboratory of Meteorology, Department of Physics, University of Ioannina, 45110 Ioannina, Greece
2Department of Environment, University of the Aegean, 81100 Mytilene, Greece
3Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
4Department of Physics, University of Crete, 71110 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Abstract. The new global aerosol climatology named HAC (Hamburg Aerosol Climatology) is compared against MODIS (MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, Collection 5, 2000–2007) and CALIOP (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization, Level 2-Version 3, 2006–2011) retrievals. The HAC aerosol optical depth (AOD) values are larger than MODIS in heavy aerosol load conditions (over land) and lower over oceans. Agreement between HAC and MODIS is better over land and for low AOD. Hemispherically, HAC has 16–17% smaller AOD values than MODIS. The discrepancy is slightly larger for the Southern Hemisphere (SH) than for the Northern Hemisphere (NH). Seasonally, the largest absolute differences are from March to August for NH and from September to February for SH. The spectral variability of HAC AOD is also evaluated against AERONET (1998–2007) data for sites representative of main aerosol types (pollutants, sea-salt, biomass and dust). The HAC has a stronger spectral dependence of AOD in the UV wavelengths, compared to AERONET and MODIS. For visible and near-infrared wavelengths, the spectral dependence is similar to AERONET. For specific sites, HAC AOD vertical distribution is compared to CALIOP data by looking at the fraction of columnar AOD at each altitude. The comparison suggests that HAC exhibits a smaller fraction of columnar AOD in the lowest 2–3 km than CALIOP, especially for sites with biomass burning smoke, desert dust and sea salt spray. For the region of the greater Mediterranean basin, the mean profile of HAC AOD is in very good agreement with CALIOP. The HAC AOD is very useful for distinguishing between natural and anthropogenic aerosols and provides high spectral resolution and vertically resolved information.